Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Larry Ebbers


This study of the impact of community college general education, semester hours on student critical thinking ability responded to national and regional research recommendations in analysis of three components: (1) critical thinking, (2) general education, and (3) community college. Student critical thinking ability was measured by student scores on the ACT Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) Critical Thinking component exam. General education was defined as the semester hours completed in each of five general education areas required for associate degree graduation: communications, humanities, math, science, and social science. All data for this study were obtained from the records of 148 Crowder College student volunteers approved for graduation. The analysis of covariance study design evaluated the extent to which higher student critical thinking scores achieved on the ACT CAAP Critical Thinking component test, the dependent variable, covaried with increased completed general education semester hours and entering ACT Composite scores, controlled for entering student ability. In the primary analysis, no statistically significant interaction was found between student critical thinking ability on the ACT CAAP Critical Thinking component test, adjusted for student ACT Composite scores, and general education hours in each of the five areas completed by associate degree graduates. All research hypotheses in the null form were not rejected. Secondary analysis of selected general education area combinations found statistically significant interactions between student critical thinking ability adjusted for student ability on the ACT Composite test and increased general education hours completed in selected areas at the.10 level of significance. Continued research on the extent to which combination of general education areas contributed to critical thinking, and accepted cognitive outcome of college, was recommended to improve each higher education institutions' ability to respond to program review, program development, articulation, accreditation, and accountability standards.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Judith Hansen



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

75 pages